A Marin Winter Waterfall Hike at Cascade Canyon

January 5, 2016

Cascade Falls Fairfax Marin CountyOur family really loves hiking in Marin during the winter, especially when there's a waterfall involved. One of Marin's favorite family hikes is at Cascade Canyon Open Space Preserve near Fairfax. The trail here winds through Elliott Nature Preserve, along San Anselmo Creek, to the 20-foot Cascade Falls. It's particularly popular during the winter and spring when the creek is flowing, but it's a great place for a fun family hike at any time of year. This easy out-and-back hike is about 1.5 miles round trip.

Start out at the trailhead on Cascade Drive in Fairfax and head onto Cascade Fire Road. San Anselmo Creek burbles along to your left, and you'll find a couple good flat spots for the kids to walk down and explore the creek. Ordinarily you'll follow Cascade Fire Road for approximately a half mile until it meets with Cascade Falls Trail, fording shallow parts of the creek in a couple spots.

Hands-on Fun for Spring at Slide Ranch

January 5, 2016

slide ranch spring flingSlide Ranch is a great place for family members of all ages. We tried out one of their family farm days in the past and my kids had a great time petting the sheep planting seeds, milking a goat, and making nature crafts. They offer guided tours and lots of hands-on activities, including collecting eggs from chickens, planting seeds, sampling from their organic garden, learning to make crafts and food just like the early farmers, and exploring the nearby tide pools.

Slide Ranch is located off of Shoreline Highway in Muir Beach. Below is a list of their upcoming spring events. Their programs often sell out quickly, so you need to plan ahead if you are interested in participating. Register for programs online at www.slideranch.org.

Spring Family Farm Days

Family Farm Days at Slide Ranch are relaxed four-hour programs that feature a wide range of activities related to the day's theme. Cost: $25 per person; age 2 and under free.

Open House at New Village School in Sausalito

January 5, 2016

New Village School Kindergarten Marin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from the New Village School in Sausalito.

The New Village School is hosting an Open House School Tour for all interested parents this Saturday, January 9, 10 am–12:30 pm.

The New Village School, a Bay Area independent school located in Sausalito, redefines education for children in grades K–8. This is a unique learning environment that is best experienced in person. Come hear about the curriculum and philosophy from the teaching team and meet recent graduates who will tell you how NVS has served them in their transition to high school.

Indoor Drop-in Activities for the Little Ones for Marin & Beyond

January 4, 2016

Indoor playLooking for fun indoor play spaces for the little ones? There are several places to take the kids to get them out of the house and burn off all that extra energy, especially on a cold or rainy day. Here are a few ideas for fun indoor drop-in activites in Marin County and beyond:

Fairfax

  • Pavilion Playgroup (ages 0-5)
    Fairfax Pavilion
    142 Bolinas Road

    Bring the little ones for some fun indoors November through April each year on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9:30am -12:30 pm. Indoor playtime during the soggy season! Join other moms, dads and kids at the charming red building on the hill. Children/infant to 5 years enjoy playing with toys, riding scooters and climbing on a variety of soft blocks and mats. Parents enjoy mingling, playing and drinking fresh coffee and tea. Cost: $6 per child per visit or $50 for a 10 visit punch card. For more info, visit their website.

Mill Valley

  • Jump Indoor Playday
    Mill Valley Community Center
    180 Camino Alto
    (415) 383-1370

    Drop-in for children ages 1–5 every Wednesday from 9 am–noon. All the mats will be out with push and pull toys, balls and obstacles to play on. Parents and/or caregivers must attend. The cost is $5 child or $7 for the family. No registration necessary. Exact change appreciated. For more info, call or visit their website.

Get Healthy at the Fourth Annual Mill Valley Family Fun Run and Health Fair

January 4, 2016

Mill Valley Family Fun Run

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored shout-out from Mill Valley Recreation.

Get out your running shoes, walking shoes, and friends and family! Join other active members in the community at the Fourth Annual Family Fun Run. This event is held in conjunction with the annual Health and Wellness Fair. This fun family event has options for everyone, from competitive runners to parents with little ones in strollers or those who just want to stroll among friends! The Mill Valley Community Center will be buzzing with all sorts of events from 10 am to 2 pm on Saturday January 9. Race start times vary by event from 8:30 am to 11:45 am.

Slow-roasted Rotisserie-style Chicken

January 3, 2016

faux-tisserie roast chickenA roast chicken can be satisfying and delicious, but it can be deceptively difficult to make. I've been experimenting with trying to make the perfect roast chicken (I'm getting there, I think), and have been using different techniques to see how they turn out. One of the more successful ones is a "faux-tisserie" chicken, which attempts to develop the same fall-off-the bone texture that you get from your favorite rotisserie-cooked bird.

The general technique comes from Bon Appetit magazine, which advocates cooking the chicken low and slow for hours. I decided to flavor it like they do at Gira Polli in Mill Valley, whose wood-fired rotisserie chickens I think are some of the best in Marin. While this is not a whip-it-up-after-you-get-home-from-work recipe, it's really pretty easy. You just need to be around for the 3 hours it takes to cook it.

Win Tickets to the January 26 Speak to Me Event: Savor Your Success with Angela Jia Kim

January 3, 2016

Angela Jia KimSpeak to Me, Marin's premiere series of intelligent, inspiring speaking events for women, presents the second event in its 2015/2016 evening series, "Savor Your Success: Surprising Ways To Get What You Want Out of Life" with Angela Jia Kim—founder and CEO of The Savor Lifestyle Brands: Savor Spa, Om Aroma & Co. and Savor the Success—on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 6:30 pm at the Mill Valley Community Center. Angela Jia Kim is a former concert pianist turned passionate entrepreneur, who has discovered powerful, effective secrets to creating success while savoring the lives we love. At this next Speak to Me event she will share her simple, proven lifestyle and mindset tools to help you successfully get your dreams out of your head, into your hands, and out into the world!

We're giving away one set of two tickets to this event to a lucky Marin Mommies reader! The first reader to send an email to contests@marinmommies.com with "Speak to Me January" in the subject line will receive the two tickets. Many thanks to Speak to Me for sponsoring this giveaway. Read our complete giveaway rules here.

Winter Whale and Elephant Seal Watching at Point Reyes National Seashore

January 2, 2016

Whale Watching Point Reyes

The New Year always heralds the start of whale-watching season on Northern California's coast. This is the time of year when California Gray Whales (eschrichtius robustus) pass by the coast on their annual southern migration, so start planning your winter trip out to Point Reyes National Seashore to do some whale watching now. Dust off those binoculars and your telephoto lens and head out to the Point Reyes Lighthouse!

While we've had mixed results in our own whale-watching outings, we've usually seen at least a whale or two, and on one visit we saw at least a dozen pass by the lighthouse! The National Park Service counted 94 whales this past weekend, so you'll probably get to see something if you're patient. It's an amazing experience that you'll never forget, and it's definitely worth the time it takes getting out to the lighthouse.

Upcoming Marin Private School and Preschool Open Houses

December 31, 2015
San Domenico School
Photo: San Domenico School

This month, several independent schools and preschools in Marin are holding open houses for parents of prospective students. If you're considering a local a preschool or elementary school for your child, you'll definitely want to. The following schools and preschools are holding open houses this January. Most require RSVPs in advance.

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